"Resume talks or Tamils will set up separate state in N-E"

by Wijitha Nakkawita and Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Committee Stage of the Budget in Parliament commenced on Tuesday with the Deputy Leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya proposing a token cut of 10 rupees on the Votes of the President and Departments under the purview of the President.

However after R. Sampanthan ITAK leader spoke on the debate with the usual references to the resumption of peace talks based on the ISGA proposals of the LTTE when Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam (ITAK) said that the Tamil people will set up a separate state in the North and East.

Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera: Can the ITAK leader and others in his party ask for a separate state when they have taken an oath of allegiance to the Constitution.

Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara: Members have freedom of expressing their ideas in Parliament.

Wimal Weerawansa (JVP) They can not only ask for one separate state or even 60 separate states but you as the Speaker should give a ruling whether a Member of Parliament who had taken an oath to safeguard the Constitution could make a statement like that in Parliament.

Speaker: You should refer to the standing orders and tell me under what standing order are you objecting to Mr.Sampanthanís speech.

Minister of Urban Development, Dinesh Gunawardena: The Speaker has a right to disallow a member from making a statement condemning the constitution. Former Speakers had expunged such statements or disallowed members from making such statements. You should give your ruling or even reserve your ruling for a later time.

Speaker: I will take this matter up at the Party Leaders meeting R. Sampanthan: If the government could not agree to some of the ISGA proposals of the LTTE the government could give its own proposals to the LTTE at the peace talks. But it was important that the President took the initiative to resume peace talks based on the ISGA. Once the ISGA is established the government could continue the peace talks and discuss the final solution to the national question.


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